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Effectiveness of the focused parent-infant psychotherapy (fPIP) in treating early childhood regulatory disorders

Involved persons: Anna Georg, Paul Schröder-Pfeifer, Sandra Kress, Svenja Taubner

Funding of the main study: Association of Analytical Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists (VAKJP) (2013 to 2018)

Funding of the follow-up investigation: Heidehof Foundation (2018 to 2019)

Funding of process research: German Psychoanalytical Society (2020)

Early regulatory disorders are the most common reason why parents of young children seek help. Focused parent-infant psychotherapy (fPIP) is a psychodynamic-based therapeutic concept developed for the treatment of early regulatory disorders within four sessions. The aim of the study is to investigate the effectiveness of fPIP in comparison to paediatric regular treatment (TAU, treatment as usual). The allocation to one of the conditions was randomized (RCT). For this purpose, N = 154 parents of children diagnosed with early regulatory disorders (4 to 15 months) were examined before and after the intervention period of 12 weeks. The effects were assessed with respect to the target criteria of infantile symptomatology, parental psychological symptom burden and depression, parental stress, parental self-efficacy expectations and mentalization, and emotional availability in parent-child interaction.

The follow-up study investigates the long-term effect of fPIP one year after the end of treatment (+12 months). For this purpose, the target criteria emotional and behavioural problems of the child, childhood sleep problems, child development, parental psychological symptom burden and depression, parenting stress, parental reflective functioning, and parental self-efficacy are used.

Further investigations focus on the subjective therapy experience of parents who were treated with fPIP and participated in the study. Another project focuses on parental reflective functioning in the therapy process and the influence of mentalization-promoting interventions.

Publications:

Georg, A. K., Cierpka, M., Schröder-Pfeifer, P., Kress, S., & Taubner, S. (in press). The efficacy of brief parent-infant psychotherapy for treating early regulatory disorders: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2020.06.016

Georg, A. K., Cierpka, M., Taubner, S., & Schröder-Pfeifer, P. Parenting stress in the face of early regulatory disorders in infancy – what matters most? Manuscript submitted for publication.

Georg, A. K., Kress, S., & Taubner, S. (2019). Strengthening mentalizing in a depressed mother of an infant with sleeping disorders. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 75(5), 859-873.

Georg, A. K., Kress, S., Cierpka, M., & Taubner, S. (2019). Focused parent-infant psychotherapy for early regulatory disorders: Investigation in a randomized-controlled trial. Kinderanalyse, 27(3), 278-307.

Cierpka, M, Scholtes-Spang, K, Kress, S., & Georg, A. K. (2017). Manualized focused psychotherapy of early regulatory disorders. Kinderanalyse, 25(3), 231-263.

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